Top Twitter employees in India may face arrest for not complying with an Indian government notice to block accounts.
The right-wing ruling Modi government said it was “running out of patience” as Twitter failed to censure “inflammatory content” on its platform.
In its notice, the government has told the social media site that Twitter is an intermediary and they are obliged to obey directions of the government, and the refusal to do so will invite penal action.
The content posted with inflammatory hashtag was designed to inflame passions, hatred, create tensions in the society and was factually incorrect, the government said, adding that “incitement to genocide is not freedom of speech, but a threat to law and order”.
Rebutting the government in a long public blog post Twitter said: “.. Keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law.”
Prior to the publishing of the blog post Twitter sought to meet with ministry officials. The Indian government expressed displeasure over Twitter going public on the orders. India also turned down a meeting between Twitter and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
India had ordered Twitter to remove more than 1,100 accounts and posts that it alleges are spreading misinformation about the widespread protests by Indian farmers against new agricultural laws.
Meanwhile, government supporters have urged their followers to flock to a home-grown rival Koo.